Jack Phillips, the embattled cake designer whose victory at the Supreme Court this past June highlighted the national struggle between religious freedom and the demands of gay activists, had a simple message: Rejoice in your trials and use them to spread the fame and glory of Jesus Christ.
In an emotional, Scripture-laden testimony delivered during staff devotions Nov. 6 at the BGEA headquarters, Phillips spoke about God’s faithfulness during his six-year legal battle. He also shared about his 92-year-old mother’s Christian example as well as her love for Billy Graham, which she has chronicled by saving old newspaper clippings of articles by Mr. Graham.
“When I told my mom I was coming here today, she pulled this file out of her cabinet,” Phillips told the BGEA staff. “She titled it simply, ‘B. Graham’ … I just want to honor her with that,” he said. His mother has been a source of spiritual wisdom, challenging him years ago to memorize Psalm 103, a hymn of praise by David to the greatness of God.
Phillips’ legal battles are continuing, as Colorado officials recently filed a new complaint against him for refusing to create a transgender-themed cake. In response, he has filed a federal lawsuit against those officials. Over the course of his ordeal, he has received thousands of encouraging emails, letters, cards and phone calls, often with a recurring theme.
Phillips paraphrased portions of several Scripture passages: “From James 1, ‘Count it all joy when you encounter various trials.’ First Peter 4: ‘Why are you surprised at these things?’ And Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you for my name’s sake.’”
But one passage in particular, 1 Peter 1:3-7, has buoyed him. Quoting verses 3-4, he said: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
Phillips also quoted 1 Peter 1:6-7: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
“God in His mercy has redeemed us,” Phillips said, “so that we can go around and share His glory with others the way that Franklin Graham and Billy Graham have demonstrated for us … to share His glory and spread His fame.”
Phillips was the special guest of the Billy Graham Library Nov. 6-7, creating a custom cake to mark what would have been Billy Graham’s 100th birthday. As Franklin Graham signed copies of his newest book, “Lessons from My Father,” on Nov. 7, Phillips served cake and greeted Library visitors.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.